The Slovakian Embassy hosted a Round Table discussion with the UK Family Court Judiciary on 14 May 2015:

Radio journalist Florence Bellone wrote:

It looks as if Local Authorities will have the obligation of respecting the Vienna Convention and alert consulates, as soon as they take away a foreign child. Transfer of the child to his or her own country jurisdiction should be accepted, provided the consulate and parents ask this as soon as care proceedings start. It is understood that government guidelines would be (or have been) adjusted about the treatment of foreign cases.
Sir James Munby explained that the UK was quite unique having non-consensual adoption as a ‘protection measure’ for children and asked that UK authorities would have to understand that legally transforming a foreign child into a English child for such purposes was not perceived as normal elsewhere in the world. Munby made a point (a point made for long by detractors of forced adoption) that adoption is not affecting children’s welfare up to 18, but for their whole life. This is maybe the more subtle comment coming from a judge as we all know that child protection services are mostly destroying the children’s whole lives, through adoption or various forms of care.
Anthony Douglas’ speech: a piece of propaganda to reassure the world that foreign families are a small percentage only and that when it comes to British families, Social Services’ main task is to try keeping families together. Pityful.
Different Eastern European countries presented through their diplomats and MEPs examples of the ludicrous practice by Social Services. Related by them to UK judges is of course having another impact than related by families to the same judges… A MEP from the PETI Committee could even express the shocking aspect of forced adoption to European people and authorities.
While Munby is clearly sharing anti forced adoption people views, he reminded that he can’t change the law. I am not convinced that most other judges are not following his steps just to keep in touch with the trend (and their careers) especially Black and Thorpe that I have seen at the other end of the trend so many times in court. But at least it seems that foreign families, at least those consulting information before moving to the UK, will be able to protect their children from forced adoption and maybe from a long stay in care in the UK. But there is no apparent willing, besides Munby own concerns and efforts, for reconsidering the fate of British families under the light of so many other countries criticism. Munby will also not always be the president and unless there is a change in law, another president can influence judges in any other direction. So in my view British families should keep the fight on and very up. As long as I hear about Social Services “mistakes”, adopters “human rights”, practice “to improve” and other tricky rhetoric of that kind, it is likely that the government will continue to promote the wrong welfare and see no reason for change and apologies. Of course the meeting was not about reconsidering the system but mostly to discard causes of conflicts with neighbouring countries.


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This work (The European Dimension of Forced Adoptions by Sabine K McNeill) is free of known copyright restrictions.

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